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2021 Unsung Legal Heroes: Sherry R. Newsom

Firm Administration: Director of Administration, McDowell Rice Smith & Buchanan

sherry-newsomSherry Newsom is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of McDowell Rice Smith & Buchanan. It is a familiar role for her — prior to joining McDowell Rice, she also served in similar roles at two other major Kansas City firms: Smith Gill Fisher & Butts and Shook, Hardy & Bacon.

“Suffice to say, Sherry knows the ins and outs of mid-sized law firm administration better than almost anyone in Kansas City,” her nominator wrote.

Newsom’s responsibilities encompass human resources, staff training and virtually all other administrative functions at the firm. She coordinates the firm’s charitable efforts and developed formal training and advancement programs for legal staff through the Association for Legal Professionals.

“I continue to be a strong advocate for the continued development of the legal assistant,” she said. “This, to me, is what has been most personally rewarding.”

What is the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is having the opportunity to work with leaders (both lawyers and staff) who sincerely strive for excellence and “perfection” in everything they do. The reason we are here is to provide our clients with the best experience possible. We take great pride in our professional environment where any and all concerns are addressed and resolved with urgency and fairness. The office is a “no drama” zone.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Everyone brings something different to the table. Identify strengths and encourage abilities: accountability, dependability, visibility and reliability.

What is something that would surprise people about you?

In college I minored in horticulture; nature and the outdoors have always been an important focus and priority in my life. My gardens are deliberately overgrown and natural. The one garden tool I could not live without is my leaf blower.

Unsung Legal Heroes 2021